Oppn uproar in Rajya Sabha as 19 MPs suspended

Suspended Rajya Sabha MPs staging a protest at Parliament House during the Monsoon session in New Delhi on Tuesday. (UNI)
Suspended Rajya Sabha MPs staging a protest at Parliament House during the Monsoon session in New Delhi on Tuesday. (UNI)

Question Hour conducted amid slogan shouting

NEW DELHI, July 26: Rajya Sabha today saw uproar by the Opposition after the suspension of its 19 members for the entire week for repeatedly disrupting proceedings, with the penalised MPs refusing to leave the House.
There were four adjournments till 3:40 pm as the Opposition refused to relent, and later the House was adjourned for the day, without transacting much business.
The opposition MPs, who have been stalling the proceedings since the start of the Monsoon session on July 18 to press for immediate discussion on price rise and the levy of the GST on daily essentials, were suspended as they did not heed Deputy Chairman Harvansh’s repeated pleas to leave the well of the House and go back to their seats.
Four Congress MPs – Manickam Tagore, TN Prathapan, Jothimani and Ramya Haridas – had been suspended on Monday in Lok Sabha for disrupting proceedings, deepening the standoff between the Opposition and the government, which is maintaining that it is ready to hold the discussion once Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recovers from COVID-19.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan today moved a motion to suspend 10 MPs from the sitting of the Upper House for the remainder of the week for their “misconduct” by showing “utter disregard to the House and authority of the chair”.
But when Harivansh put the motion to vote, he read out the names of 19 members.
The motion was carried by a voice vote. When some opposition MPs demanded a division of votes, the chair said he would do so if the members returned to their seats and the House was brought to order.
With the MPs refusing to budge, he said it seems they are not interested in the division and declared that the motion has been adopted.
The suspended MPs refused to leave, squatting on the floor of the House, leading to three adjournments — first for 15 minutes by Harivansh, then for an hour and finally, for the day by Bhubaneswar Kalita, who was in the chair.
While seven of the suspended MPs belonged to the Trinamool Congress (TMC), six were from the DMK, three from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), two from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and one from the Communist Party of India (CPI).
Sushmita Dev, Mausam Noor, Shanta Chhetri, Dola Sen, Santanu Sen, Abir Ranjan Biswas and Nadimul Haque of the TMC were suspended.
DMK’s M Mohamed Abdulla, Kanimozhi NVN Somu, M Shanmugam, S Kalyanasundaram, R Girirajan and N R Elango were also suspended.
B Lingaiah Yadav, Ravichandra Vaddiraju and Damodar Rao Divakonda (TRS), V Sivadasan and A A Rahim (CPI-M) and Santhosh Kumar (CPI) were the other MPs who were suspended.
Earlier in the day, while the proceedings were adjourned during the Zero Hour without a single issue being taken up, Harivansh conducted the Question Hour in the midst of slogan-shouting by the opposition MPs from the Well.
This is the highest number of MPs suspended in one go. Earlier, 12 opposition members were suspended in November last year, as some of them had climbed on the table, flung papers and damaged property.
As the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha resumed after the suspension of nineteen MPs, opposition members continued shouting slogans from the well ignoring the pleas of Bhubaneswar Kalita, who was in the chair.
Kalita took the names of all nineteen suspended members and asked them again to go out of the House and others to return to their respective seats.
“I request the suspended members to withdraw from the House, and whose names are not announced they should go to their seats and allow the house to function,” he said.
Kalita said that rules were followed in the suspension of the members.
However, the members, who had trooped to the well of the House, kept shouting slogans.
Meanwhile AAP Member Sanjay Singh hurled pieces of paper towards the chair.
Reacting to this, Kalita, who was on the chair, said, “This is too much”.
Kalita requested the members to return to their seats to initiate the listed business.
“…It is your house, it is your responsibility to bring it in order..If you bring chaos, disorder, it will be your responsibility,” he stated.
However, the opposition members continued to protest in the well of the House, following which Kalita adjourned Rajya Sabha proceedings for the day.
In the pre-launch period, proceedings of the upper house were suspended twice.
During the question hour, Rajya Sabha was adjourned briefly for around 15 minutes after an uproar by opposition members over various issues, including price rise.
Members of the AAP and the TMC entered the well, holding placards and raising slogans against the government.
Opposition MPs have been demanding an urgent discussion under Rule 267, by suspending other business, on price rise and GST hike for the past many days, leading to disruptions in the House.
Soon after the House met at noon after the first adjournment, Deputy Chairman Harivansh urged the protesting members to return to their seats and allow the Question Hour to proceed.
As the members continued with their protest, the deputy chairman adjourned the house briefly for about 15 minutes till 12.20 pm.
Earlier, in the morning Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who was presiding, had adjourned the House till noon without transacting any business as opposition parties sought to raise the hooch tragedy in the ‘dry state’ of Gujarat as well as the issue of price rise.
No sooner had the House paid respect to the martyrs of the Kargil war and officials listed papers laid on the table, AAP’s Sanjay Singh and Congress’ Shaktisinh Sohil rushed to the well of the House holding placards over the hooch tragedy in Gujarat in which 21 people have died.(PTI)
Other opposition MPs, who have repeatedly disrupted proceedings since the start of the Monsoon session of Parliament on July 18, too were up on their feet raising issues such as price rise.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he has received notices under rule 267.
He, however, could not complete his ruling on the notices which seek to set aside the business of the day to discuss the issues being raised as opposition MPs started shouting slogans.
At this point, Naidu adjourned the proceedings till noon. (PTI)